Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award
Jim TaylorJim Taylor's route into the world of journalism was unusual, to say the least. Sitting in class one day at Victoria High, Taylor's journalism teacher told him to stay after school.
"I thought I was in trouble," said Taylor, "but the teacher told me there was a part-time sports reporting job at the Times-Colonist. I said I wasn't interested. He said that's too bad because you've already taken it."
More than 8,000 columns, countless radio shows and 13 books later, Jim Taylor is the recipient of the 2010 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award.
Looking back at his start in journalism, Taylor said he was so sure it wasn't going to work out that he actually kept his paper route.
"I got up at 5am every morning, did the paper route, went to school and then went to the Times-Colonist and wrote until about midnight. After one year, I told my mum 'I can really do this' and I quit the paper route."
Upon graduation, Taylor joined the Times-Colonist full-time where he fine-tuned his craft over the following 10 years. He then moved to the Lower Mainland, writing a daily sports column at the Vancouver Sun for 13 years, spent a year at the Vancouver Times and 17 years writing columns for the Province. He went on to become a nationally syndicated columnist for the Calgary Sun, a broadcaster and author.
Known for engaging his audience with insightful and often humorous commentary that goes well beyond the game of the day, Taylor recalls that it was his stint at the Vancouver Sun that set the tone for his long and successful career.
"Nobody was writing humour in sports at that time," Taylor said. "It can be dangerous trying to be funny but the Sun let me try it. It was new and those columns really let me sail."
In fact, Taylor's five-decade career has taken him to many corners of the globe where he has written about the world's most celebrated athletes and covered many of the defining moments in modern-day sports history, including the 1972 Canada-Russia hockey series.
Taylor cites the hockey summit as one of his career highlights.
Aside from witnessing, up-close, an event that is still talked about today, Taylor quips that "some of my friends were covering City Hall while I was in Moscow covering hockey."
Taylor uses the point to illustrate his belief that, traditionally, sports writing has not received the level of recognition it deserves.
"A writer, is a writer, is a writer," he said. "A sports writer is just a writer who happens to be writing about sports. Alan Fotheringham and Denny Boyd are pretty good names who started in sports. I just happened to stay in it."
Being recognized with the "Hutch" is an honour that Taylor says he "would crawl over glass for" and he's pleased that it also honours the value of sports journalism.
"I miss the column every day because I see things that nobody writes about," Taylor concluded. "But I have been so lucky - the jobs came up and I have been able to do what I've wanted to do."
See the dinner presentation video for Jim Taylor.
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